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[personal profile] missingopossum

...but maybe not the usual ones.

I'm sitting in my favourite coffee shop. There are three lovely young American lads (this is a university city in the UK) discussing their families and how much they've done for them. I think it's *amazing* that they all seem to realise that being from the kind of family that can set them up for success by paying for the best education is a gift. They are grateful for the huge privilege and luck that they have and I think that is as I say, amazing.

But the fact that they're aware of it doesn't change the fact that they have it and other people don't. I don't. And yet, and yet - in the place and time I grew up I *was* incredibly privileged because both my parents worked (a typist and a mechanic - but this was a place and time with one in ten unemployment nationwide, and higher than that in the ex-industrial heartlands where I grew up.) I find the random chance of what advantages fall to you absolutely fascinating; I can look at these lads and know that they have so much that I don't and never will. But at the same time I can look at the school I went to and the outright deprivation that some of my classmates lived in, and I know that I'm orders of magnitude luckier than that. Privilege really is relative.

Right here and right now I find it so strange that these odd, foreign creatures and I can sit in the same place and that they don't know that I'm from nowhere near the same background; I always kind of expect that you can somehow see it in me. I overhear from them that their families have been able to send them here to study, and that there are new cars and deposits on houses in their future. But the biggest difference I'm hearing is their absolute confidence that they can and will succeed in life. They absolutely *know* that they deserve to have a career they like and can excel at; one of them said something along the lines of "my parents have set me up to succeed; from where they've set me up I have no right to fail." Of all the gifts you can give your children that has to be one of the greatest. It sounds to me like the parents of these lovely young lads have done a fine job.

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Missing Opossum

April 2012

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